Sport

Marvin vows to bounce back

Marvin vows to bounce back

MANILA, Philippines — Lightheavyweight contender John Marvin was the only fighter in the Philippines’ 13-strong contingent not to land a podium finish at the recent Southeast Asian Games but the Fil-British lance corporal with the UK Army is determined to punch his way to the Tokyo Olympics via the world qualifiers in Paris, tentatively on May 13-20.

So far, eight of 22 Olympic slots in the 81 kg men’s division have been filled. Three from Africa and five from Asia/Oceania have qualified. There will be six from Europe and four from the Americas to join. If host Japan doesn’t claim a ticket, it will mean the top four finishers of the world qualifiers will make it to Tokyo. The Paris qualifiers may be postponed to June. One of the African qualifiers, Morocco’s Mohamed Assaghir, lost to Marvin on a third round stoppage at the Thai Open in Bangkok last year. The Asia/Oceania qualifiers are from Kazakhstan, Australia, Jordan, China and Tajikistan.

Marvin, 27, dropped a 3-2 split decision to Vietnam’s Truong Dinh Hoang in the SEA Games quarterfinals last December. He fractured his right hand during the bout and it was in a cast for several weeks. The injury did not require surgery. Marvin returned to England late January and was back in the gym with coach Gavin Taylor to prepare for the UK Armed Forces Championships when the competition was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Marvin said he plans to fly back to Manila at the end of this month to resume training for the world qualifiers. But the schedule depends on whether the COVID-19 crisis is finally over. What’s certain is he wants to make up for his SEA Games disaster and represent the Philippines in the next Olympics. Marvin, whose Filipina mother Teresita Tupas is from Pampanga, did not compete in the recent Asia/Oceania Olympic qualifiers in Amman, Jordan, to fully recover from his hand injury.

It wasn’t the first heartbreak for Marvin wearing the Philippine colors. At the AIBA World Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia, last year, he made an auspicious debut, pounding out a 4-1 decision over Lithuania’s Paulius Zujevas but suffered an ugly cut over his left eye in the process. The gash had to be stitched up and Marvin forfeited his next fight, losing to France’s Gaetan Ntambwe on a walkover.

Marvin, a two-time English Army 75 kg gold medalist, joined the Philippine team in 2017, volunteering to enlist in a blind email to ABAP secrerary-general Ed Picson. He went on to capture the gold medal at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2017. Last year, Marvin took the silver medal at the Asian Boxing Confederation Championships in Bangkok.